Dogs are a common choice of pet for many families, and while they can be loving additions to the family, they can also behave unpredictably. When your children are interacting with other families, it is likely that they encounter many different dogs. Older children have probably grown to understand the ways that dogs behave and the inherent risks associated with them. But younger kids have not yet acquired the same sense of risk and danger, and this is why they can be more susceptible to dog bites.
Data analysis from the National Trauma Data Bank has found that between 2007 and 2014, 34% of dog bites occurred in children between 6 and 12. In addition, 30% of dog bite victims were under the age of 2.
Why are young children bitten so often?
Younger children are less likely to correctly interpret a dog’s behavior. This can lead to a young child thinking a dog’s behavior is playful, when in fact it is angry and provoked. Small children also have a natural curiosity for learning and experiencing. They are therefore more likely to push the boundaries of play.
How can dog bites in young children be prevented?
Adult supervision is a critical aspect of dog bite prevention in younger children, especially toddlers and preschoolers. Young children should never be left alone with dogs, and adults should be vigilant so that dog attacks can be prevented. Even if you are with your child at the time, ultimately the dog owner has the responsibility to prevent the dog from acting viciously.
If my young child was bitten, can I take action against the dog owner?
In Connecticut, a dog owner is, in general, strictly liable for injuries caused by their dog. This means that if another person’s dog bit your child and damages occurred, you can take legal action. Under strict liability law, you do not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that they should have known the dog would be vicious.
If your child was bitten by a dog, you may want to consider making a claim to seek damages.